UPDATE: This story has been updated with a statement from the Florida Department of State.
Russian agents successfully hacked into one Florida county’s network, according to new information revealed today in the redacted Mueller Report.
The report details the nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including any possible ties to the Trump campaign.
Mueller’s team did not find enough evidence to prove intentional conspiracy between members of the Trump campaign and Russia. It also found 10 instances of potential obstruction of justice.
The report does not say which county was infiltrated, but detailed the methods used by Russian cyberagents as part of a “spearphishing” campaign.
“Spearphishing” is when a hacker sends an email with a dangerous attachment that, when clicked, gives the hacker access to the recipient’s computer.
The report also showed hackers sent 2.5 GB of stolen Florida election data from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to a Florida political blogger.
A spokesperson with the Florida Department of State sent the following statement to Politics On Your Side in response to the Mueller Report findings:
The Florida Department of State has no knowledge or evidence of any successful hacking attempt at the county level during the 2016 elections. Upon learning of the new information released in the Mueller report, the Department immediately reached out to the FBI to inquire which county may have been accessed, and they declined to share this information with us.
The Department maintains that the 2016 elections in Florida were not hacked. The Florida Voter Registration System was and remains secure, and official results or vote tallies were not changed.
In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified the Department that Florida was unsuccessfully targeted by hackers in 2016. Since 2016 when elections were designated as critical infrastructure, state and local election officials in Florida have invested millions of dollars in election security. These investments, coupled with our strong partnerships with federal and state agencies, has made Florida one of the leading states in the country on election cybersecurity.
In 2018, former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a letter to the Florida Secretary of State that “…we have not seen new or ongoing compromises of state or local election infrastructure in Florida…”.
The Department of State and local election officials will continue our efforts to ensure Florida’s elections in 2020 and beyond are secure.